Saturday, January 28, 2006

You poor dear, I don't know how you do it...

Last night, we went out to eat at the new KFC buffet before we headed out to run the errands I had on the list. Clint had to stay late at work, which threw our plans off by a few hours, so everyone was ravenously hungry. We fed the whole crew for $35, which isn't bad for a hungry family of seven.

While Clint ordered, I looked carefully for a seat. I know people expect a large family to be loud and rowdy, but ours isn't. Well, we're not in public unless it is a sporting event. There was really only one option for seating since there weren't any tables that could accomodate us. We chose two booths in the corner, where two older couples were dining. I kind of winced inwardly, having had dirty looks in the past from older folks who didn't want to be seated near a group of noisy children. Usually, those same people stop by and comment on how quiet and well-behaved the children were as they leave. I greatly appreciate their heartfelt compliments and encouragement.

Well, this group gave us hard looks and I just felt my stomach flip over. I knew Bethany, 2, was about to her breaking point for waiting for food and might start to protest at any time. She hasn't quite learned the "inside voice" yet either. Seeing no alternative, we sat down and got ready for the meal. As it turned out, the four older people were much, much louder than our family. What a happy, raucous bunch they were! Most of their loud conversation centered on large families in the past who had assigned an older child to help each younger child. This came up after Brandon and Amanda took Joshua and Caleb to the buffet to choose their food and drinks.

While we were eating, we noticed several people counting our family. A couple rolled their eyes. Five children is not THAT big, but we still get a lot of looks and comments. I must be very approachable looking because have often been asked how many children I have. When I answer, they pat me on the back and say, "You poor dear. You have so much more work.You must be so tired. I don't know how you do it because I can't stand the one I have." I usually chuckle at their wrong perception and tell them that while I might have a little bit more work to do, our family works together so it is not as bad as our size seems to indicate. I have far, far less work to do than some of my friends who have two children do.

I want to tell you what having a few more children than average has done in my life. I have been blessed to experience giving birth and nursing a newborn more than mothers who chose differently. I have had more opportunities to sniff that precious newborn scent and receive those sweet toothless grins. I have more hugs and kisses, tickles, pillow fights, snuggles, and "I love you Moms." I have a stack of cards, drawings, crafts and letters in my memory box that I treasure more than gold or jewels. I have more opportunities to watch milestones be reached and hurdles crossed. I have seen the world open up in five ways different than my own perspective. I have been blessed to see spiritual awareness and godly character take root in each child's heart. God has used each pregnancy, each birth, each childhood to mature me as a Christian and develop character in me. The joys my children bring me go on and on without measure.

I love it. I could not see my life doing anything else. I wish everyone could know this kind of joy and happiness in their parenting. Being with my children gives me more joy each day than I can say enough prayers to express my deepest gratitude.

Thank you Lord for blessing someone as lowly and undeserving as me with such precious treasures.